DIONE consortium partners have presented DIONE results in four presentations in the plenary session, two posters in the conference hall and one booth at the expo area. The conference was focused on the new CAP legislation coming in January 2023 and technical community developments as well as dissemination. The event started at 14.00 on Monday and closed at 17.00 on Wednesday and took place at the Barcelò Sants Hotel in Barcelona.
The MARS conference brought together the community of technical experts in the domain of administration and control of the area-based subsidy schemes. It covered the technologies, methods and protocols that bring effectiveness and efficiency to that domain. Participation was open to experts from administrations, industry, academic and research institutions. It was jointly organised by Joint Research Centre of the EC (JRC), the Spanish Paying agency (FEGA) and Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda of Catalonia (GENCAT).
The keynotes were given firs in a video by Stephen Quest (DG JRC), followed by speeches by Bettina Baruth (JRC), Christina Borchmann (DG AGRI), Fernando Miranda (Secretary General of Agriculture and Food of Spain) and Teresa Jordà (Minister of Agriculture of Catalonia).
DIONE project manager, Valantis Tsiakos (ICCS) took the lead of the PechaKucha session on the morning of Tuesday the 13th, presenting „Farmers in the epicenter: An augmented reality enabled geotagged photos framework with high degree of quality and trust”. The presentation put focus on DIONE Geotagged photos Framework, a service developed as an Earth Observation component of DIONE Toolbox. The system presented is integrated with Paying Agencies’ infrastructure, fetching farmers’ application data in real time with offline operation supported. With more than 500 downloads from since the launch in November 2021, the application is a demonstrated and a tested solution allowing for augmented reality, time and location itnegrity and finally, photo validation and anonimisation, using convolutional neural network that enables the identification and blurring of personal information. Following, a presentation on „Soil quality and land degradation assessment using low-cost, miniaturized spectrometers” was given by Kostas Kariotis (I-BEC), DIONE partner developing affordable hand-held soil scanners. The presentation focused on the implementation of the low-cost system based on spectral sensors that can measure and assess soil quality. The device has been demonstrated and tested in real conditions, with exploitable aspects to increase the capability for monitoring small parcel dominated regions, quantify the current level of soil health provide dense temporal data to end users in near real time scale, provide a cost-efficient methodology for assessing soil health condition without expensive laboratory analysis. The session was ended by a presentation on „The use of super-resolution data in production of AMS markers” by Grega Milcinski (SINERGISE), DIONE partner providing Sentinel Hub services. The presentation addressed the problems of monitoring small parcels and the provision of high-resolution data. The day after, on Wednesday the 14th of September, Giorgos Gkotsis (CORE) presented „DIONE Environmental performance tool and visualisation component” to the 26th MARS conference audience. The presentation focused on the main aspects of the web application for visualising the machine learning algorithms and AI models based on environmental performance indicators.
Valantis Tsiakos (ICCS, GR) giving a presentation at the 26th MARS Conference 2022 in Barcelona, Spain
Additionally, in the conference hall, a poster by DIONE partner Gilab was presented on the topic of „Automated, scalable and configurable system for monitoring and deciding on beneficiaries’ compliance with CAP provisions”. Gilab as a partner had developed the compliance monitoring tool and DIONE Toolbox API which integrates all the other components and has its own authentication mechanism. Asked how simple to use the frontend application is, Mr Sekulić replied „Currently, farmers are not that much into the IT related components, but they are going in the right direction” and pointed out the successful cooperation with both partner paying agencies on the project during the pilot case studies promising a potential commercial future for the app.
Both Cyprus Agricultural Payments Organization (CAPO) and National Paying Agency of Lithuania (NPA) were present at the conference, offering valuable insights into the future CAP regulation and DIONE Toolbox applicability to accommodate the new regulation compliance.
„The involved parties are getting ready. Not everybody is at the point where they should be, but we are getting there. There are a lot of changes, new things, new aspects, new directives and policies. We are studying, learning, preparing and at the same time informing. The PAs, ministry and the other competent authorities are prepared. The important party however are the farmers. We are optimistic they will adapt. We will know for sure when we get there, at the start line” said Mr Zintilas (CAPO).
„DIONE Toolbox is valuable not only for the Lithuanian and Cyprus paying agencies, but the whole European Union as well other countries. The Toolbox offers a blend of services for post-2022 CAP compliance, including the geotagged photos framework, environmental performance tool, soil scanning system, drone imagery etc., so that everything is in your hands. As the countries are preparing their Strategic Plans, it is very important to point out the flexibility our partners in DIONE showed to change and improve things,” Mr Kučinskas said as he invited other companies to test the project solutions DIONE delivered.
For more information on the conference, presentation slides and posters, photos and other material visit this link.